Category Archives: Dessert

Grandma Green’s Summer Fruit Pie

Of all of the food fuelled memories I have, making this pie always takes me to summer days on the Island and my Grandparents’ place. They lived on the same piece of property for 60 years, a sloping 5 acres that trickled into Fuller Lake, and for the last 10 years that they were alive, we made a habit of spending as many of the few holidays I could squeeze out hanging out with them and the kids by the lake, spending time together and cooking a few dinners a year there. It seemed that for a number of years we were always there in early August, and berries were always in abundance.

The first time my grandmother made this pie I was blown away by its simplicity and clean flavour, which comes from really fresh ripe fruit, left to speak for itself for the most part. I have since shared this recipe with any who have been over for a summer barbecue at my place, and had it for my birthday cake last year! You can use any fruit, just match the flavour of the gelatin powder to the fruit in hand, and cut larger fruits into bite sized pieces before assembly. Peaches will need to be blanched first to remove the skins, but fresh berries should just be washed gently to preserve their integrity.


1 prebaked tart or pie shell ( I like to use sweet dough, recipe follows)
2 lb fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or peaches (enough to fill pie shell)
1 package fruit flavoured gelatin powder (same flavour as the fruit being used)
1 cup boiling water
2 cups whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar

Prebake the tart shell until fully cooked and golden. Set aside until cooled
Wash fruit and de-stem if necessary. In the case of peaches, blanch to remove skins, and slice into bite size pieces. Strawberries are best hulled and halved or quartered if large, leave raspberries or blackberries whole. You can use a combination of berries if you like, there are no rules when it comes to the possibilities here.
Boil water and add 1 cup to the package of gelatin powder. (this is half the amount of water called for on the package, which is exactly what we want for this) Allow to cool to room temperature
Toss fruit in the cooled gelatin and fill pie shell.
Pour any remaining gelatin over top.

Place in the fridge to chill
Once cold and the filling has set, whip cream with sugar and spread over top of pie. return to fridge and allow to chill thoroughly before serving.

I guarantee the freshness and light flavour will soon become one of your favourite easy family summer recipes. It sure has for us, and always takes us back to summer days on the lake.

Sweet Pastry (123 dough)

The name implies simplicity, but has more to do with the ratio of sugar, butter, and flour by weight. I like using sweet dough for two reasons: ease of use, as it is less prone to shrinkage, and taste, especially with fillings that are not overly sweet. This makes enough for 2 pie shells or about 18 individual tart shells

270 g flour (9oz)
90 g sugar (3 oz)
180 g butter, cut into small pieces (6 oz)
2 ml salt (1/2 tsp
1 egg
5 ml vanilla extract (1 tsp)

Combine flour, sugar, and salt
Add butter and work in until mealy
Beat egg with vanilla and add to flour mixture
Knead lightly until combined
Divide into two halves and pat each into a thick disc
Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour


To make a pre-baked shell:

Roll out and line a pie or tart shell
Dock and trim edges
Chill until cold
Line with parchment paper and weigh down with rice or dry beans
Bake in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown around edges
Remove parchment and weights and return to oven for 5 minutes to colour centre lightly
Cool to room temperature
Use as directed in recipe

First pie of the season!

Last weekend brought the first pie of the season! I also barbecued twice which will bring a couple of stories and a few recipes in the next few days, but for now, enjoy the pie.
Needless to say, it was delicious!

Poached pears in blue cran wine syrup

This recipe uses a local fruit wine, made from blueberry and cranberry. You may substitute another fruit wine if you like, or a light red. Anjou, Bosc and Bartlett pears all work well in this recipe, and should be just ripe or slightly under-ripe for best results.

2 cups blueberry – cranberry wine
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 star anise
6 peppercorns
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick

6 pears, peeled, halved, and cored

Bring all ingredients except pears up to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes to develop flavour
Add pears and simmer until tender, 20-40 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit
Remove with a slotted spoon, and place in a shallow dish
Pour poaching liquid over and allow to cool to room temperature(pears may be poached and refrigerated for a few days in advance)

Serve with blue cheese and hazelnut shortbread

Hazelnut shortbread

This recipe is right between savoury and sweet, and a nice complement to blue cheese. Contrary to most baking recipes, the salted butter is key to the right flavour, as my dear friend Harry Greenwood (who is the font of much wisdom about shortbread, among many other things) will attest.

1 cup toasted hazelnuts, ground
3 cups flour
1 lb salted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup superfine sugar (berry sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 F
Combine hazelnuts and flour in food processor and process until fine
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy and sugar is dissolved.
Add flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Pat into a sheet pan lined with parchment and chill thoroughly (at least 2 hours, preferably overnight)
Dock well and bake for 30 minutes, until golden
Score while still warm, and once cool, turn out onto another baking sheet